The figure shows a compact, rugged, simple sensor head that is part of an instrumentation system for making measurements to characterize the severity of aircraft-icing conditions and/or to perform research on cloud physics. The quantities that are calculated from measurement data acquired by this system and that are used to quantify the severity of icing conditions include sizes of cloud water drops, cloud liquid water content (LWC), cloud ice water content (IWC), and cloud total water content (TWC). The sensor head is mounted on the outside of an aircraft, positioned and oriented to intercept the ambient airflow. The sensor head consists of an open housing that is heated in a controlled manner to keep it free of ice and that contains four hot-wire elements. The hot-wire sensing elements have different shapes and sizes and, therefore, exhibit different measurement efficiencies with respect to droplet size and water phase (liquid, frozen, or mixed). Three of the hot-wire sensing elements are oriented across the airflow so as to intercept incoming cloud water. For each of these elements, the LWC or TWC affects the power required to maintain a constant temperature in the presence of cloud water.